500 Sails prepares for free swimming lessons program

Posted on Feb 20 2019

500 Sails Gamsun Project lifeguards and Co-founder Emma Perez

The first orientation for the Gamsun Project of 500 Sails to provide free swimming lessons for K-12th grade youth took place last Feb. 1 at the beach front by Guma Sakman on Beach Road.

Two more orientation days—Feb. 8 and 15—were done at the Guma Sakman.

Regular classes would start on Feb. 28 and last through May 31, 2019, from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.

Bring beachwear, drinking water, and a towel. The time will be split between swim class and free play.

Orientation days were an opportunity for 500 Sails Gamsun Project lifeguards and staff to establish lifeguarding procedures specific to that location. It was also a time for experienced teachers to share knowledge with new assistants in preparation for the eight-week program.

Classes will take place beachfront by the Guma Sakman on Beach Road. This is perhaps the best beach to learn how to swim on Saipan. The currents are gentle, the water is clean and clear and not too deep, and the Guma Sakman has a shower and working bathrooms during all swim classes (500 Sails has found a temporary solution while waiting for repairs to the building to be completed).

In addition, the Guma Sakman is located between DCCA’s Seafaring Traditions Program and the Northern Marianas Paddle Sports Federation, in an area that has become synonymous with cultural marine activity.

During orientation days, 500 Sails worked with newly certified lifeguards from Marianas High School who had free mornings due to their school’s schedule. This committed group of youth come and volunteer as lifeguards before going to school in the afternoons. Beginning Feb. 28, their counterparts from Saipan Southern will join to guard and assist teaching for afternoon classes.

The 500 Sails Gamsun Project is made possible by partnerships with NMC-CREES-Family, Community and Youth Development Program, and 4-H Marianas. We have also had assistance from Marianas High School and members of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands. Certification was through Western Pacific Training Solutions LLC.

500 Sails has been generously supported by a development grant from the Administration for Native Americans that has helped to create health initiatives combined with our mission. Created in 2014, our mission is one of cultural revival. We are committed to restoring the maritime traditions of the Marianas.

To enroll in 500 Sails Gamsun Project classes, email Lorenza Aldan at lorenza.aldan@marianas.edu. You can also register at the classes, so come a few minutes early.

To learn more about 500 Sails, visit 500sails.org or follow us on Facebook @500SailsDolphinSwimClub. (PR)

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